BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, November 22, 1822

Beethoven today responds to Leipzig publisher Carl Friedrich Peters’ letter of November 9th. “In your letter from November 9, I appear to be reproached for my seeming negligence, in light of your payment of the fee in advance, since you haven’t received anything yet. [Beethoven had promised Peters songs, three marches and a number of piano bagatelles.] We would immediately be reconciled were we together in person, since they are already assembled for you, except the choice of which songs you are to receive. You will receive everything in accordance with our agreement. I could send more than the specified four bagatelles, and there are still 9 or 10 more. [There are seven more in what would become op.119 and he may have had ideas for others that were discarded. The bagatelles in op.126 were probably not yet written.] If you write me about this right away, I could send the four, or as many as you want with everything else.”

“My health is still not completely restored from my baths, but on the whole I am triumphant. I also had the evil here that someone else was looking for an apartment that was not suitable for me, which was difficult to overcome. [This is the first indication that Beethoven is not happy with his new lodgings, which brother Johann had arranged for him. This may explain the delay in his moving in to the apartment at 60 Obere Pfargasse in the suburb of Windmühle, next door to Johann.] This held me up not a little in my occupations and I have not yet come to terms with it.

“With respect to the Mass, it is like this: I have long since completed one, but a second one is not yet finished. There has been gossip about the Masses and some have been misled by this. It remains to be seen which of the two you will receive. I am pressed from all sides.” [Beethoven may have intended to write a second mass, but the sketchbooks show no sign of any significant work upon it. He will make the same claim to Nikolaus Simrock in March of 1823.]

T. Mollo, 1822 engraving of the refurbished Theatre in the Josephstadt.

You will recall that Beethoven wrote The Consecration of the House Overture op.124 for the grand reopening of the Theater in the Josephstadt early in October of this year. Today in the Wiener Zeitung at p.1075, Tranquilo Mollo (1767-1837) announces an engraving, colored with silver, depicting that newly-refurbished theater, available for purchase as part of their uniform series of Vienna’s Most Excellent Buildings and Monuments. Collect them all!